Solihull (/ˈsɒlɪhʌl/ or /ˈsoʊliːhʌl/ or /soʊliˈhʌl/) is a
large town in the West Midlands of
England with a population of
206,700 in the 2011 Census. Historically in Warwickshire, it is a
part of the West Midlands conurbation. It is the largest town in, and
administrative centre of, the larger Metropolitan Borough of Solihull,
which itself has a population of 209,890.
Solihull is the most affluent town of the West Midlands, and one of
the most affluent areas in the UK outside London. In November 2013,
the uSwitch Quality of Life Index named
Solihull the "best place to
live" in the United Kingdom. Residents of
Solihull and those
born in the town are referred to as Silhillians. The motto of Solihull
is Urbs in Rure (Town in Country).
1.2 Early history
1.3 20th century
6 Communal facilities
6.1 Parks and local nature reserves
9 Twin towns
10 Notable people
12 External links
Solihull's name is commonly thought to have derived from the position
of its parish church, St Alphege, on a 'soily' hill. The church was
built on a hill of stiff red marl, which turned to sticky mud in wet
The town is noted for its historic architecture, which includes
surviving examples of timber framed Tudor style houses and shops. The
Solihull School dates from 1560 (although not on its present
site). The red sandstone parish church of St.
Alphege dates from a
similar period and is a large and handsome example of English Gothic
church architecture, with a traditional spire 168 feet (51 metres)
high, making it visible from a great distance. It is located at the
head of High Street and is a Grade I listed building. It was
founded in about 1220 by Hugh de Oddingsell. A chantry chapel was also
founded there by Sir William de Oddingsell in 1277 and the upper
chapel in St
Alphege was built for a chantry.
St. Alphege's Church, Solihull
Unlike nearby Birmingham, the
Industrial Revolution largely passed
Solihull by and until the 20th century
Solihull remained a small
World War II
World War II also nearly passed
Solihull by. Neighbouring
Birmingham were severely damaged by repeated German
bombing raids but apart from some attacks on what is now the Land
Rover plant, the airport and the local railway lines,
largely intact.
In 1901, the population of the town was just 7,500.
This growth was due to a number of factors including a large slum
clearance programme in Birmingham, the development of the Rover car
plant, the expansion of what was then
Elmdon Airport into Birmingham
International Airport and, perhaps most significantly, the release of
large tracts of land for housing development attracting inward
migration of new residents from across the UK.
St. Augustine's Church (Roman Catholic)
Until the early 1960s, the main high street remained much as it would
have been in the late 19th century with several streets of Victorian
terraced houses linking High Street with Warwick Road. The
construction of the central shopping area known as Mell Square (named
after W. Maurice Mell, the town clerk who planned the work) involved
the demolition of properties in Mill Lane and Drury Lane, some of
which were several hundred years old, together with that of the large
Congregational Church that had stood on the corner of Union
Street and Warwick Road. On the right along High Street from St
Alphege's Church porch is one of the town's oldest landmarks, The
George, which dates from the 16th century. It is now called the Ramada
Arden Golf Club, Solihull, (now defunct) was founded in 1891. The
course was still appearing on maps into the 1930s.
Due to its growth,
Solihull was promoted from an urban district to a
municipal borough, the honour being bestowed by Princess Margaret.
Solihull became a county borough and on this occasion the
Queen bestowed the honour. In 1974, the
Solihull county borough was
merged with the rural district surrounding Meriden to form the
Metropolitan Borough of Solihull. This also includes the districts
known as Shirley, Knowle, Dorridge, Balsall Common, Castle Bromwich
and Chelmsley Wood.
The member of parliament for the
Solihull constituency is Conservative
Julian Knight, who won his seat in 2015.
There are 17 wards in Solihull; Olton, Knowle, Dorridge, Silhill,
Blythe, Meriden, Elmdon, Lyndon, Smith's Wood, Chelmsley Wood, Hockley
Heath, St. Alphege, Shirley West, Shirley East, Shirley South,
Kingshurst & Fordbridge,
Castle Bromwich and Bickenhill. Each
ward is represented by three councillors at
Borough Council, making a total of 51 councillors. The mayor is
elected by the Council and is currently (2017–18) Stuart Davis of
the Conservative Party.
See also: List of schools in Solihull
Solihull has no university, but there are five universities within
16 mi (26 km) of the town; three in
Birmingham and two in
Solihull College, formerly known as the Solihull
College of Technology, incorporates a University Centre which offers
several foundation degree and full degree courses, particularly in
technical subject areas such as computer sciences and engineering. As
yet it has not applied to attain university college or university
There is also a sixth form college located on the outskirts of the
town centre. This is known as the Sixth Form College, Solihull.
Solihull School is an independent school and is located on Warwick
Road near the centre of the town. It was founded in 1560 and
celebrated its 450th anniversary in 2010.
Solihull had a 'Wave 1' proposal of the Building Schools for the
Future investment programme approved. They were awarded over £80
million to transform six schools in the north of the borough in
December 2004. As a result of the funding, there will be six new
schools constructed within seven years. The school curriculum will be
redesigned as well as a further £6 million investment in managed ICT
services. The six schools to be rebuilt are
Park Hall, Smith's Wood,
Archbishop Grimshaw, Lanchester
Special School and Forest Oak and
Merstone special schools. Forest Oak and Merstone have been already
rebuilt on one site. Lanchester,
Park Hall and
Smith's Wood have been
built by BAM PPP, under 'Private Finance Initiative'. Archbishop
Grimshaw has been built by BAM PPP under a traditional contract.
The Manor House, Solihull
Solihull railway station
A number of main roads pass through
Solihull including the A41
Birmingham to Warwick road and the A34
Birmingham to Stratford road.
The M42 and the M40 both pass through
Solihull and provide very rapid
London and to the rest of the motorway network
surrounding the West Midlands.
Birmingham Airport is located in
Solihull railway station
Solihull railway station is on the former
Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway line
Birmingham Snow Hill station to
London Paddington although trains
now run along the
Chiltern Main Line terminating at
Solihull railway station
Solihull railway station was first built on a very grand scale, with 2
island platforms complete with nearly full length canopies, and a
large goods yard, boasting space for some 200+ waggons; the yard was
equipped with a loading dock, goods shed and large crane.
also rare in being only one of a handful of stations in the area to
have a goods relief line.
Other railway links are provided on the West Coast Main Line, as
Birmingham International railway station lies within the borough's
boundaries and offers frequent express connections to London. Express
train services through
Solihull are now run by
Chiltern Railways and
local services by
Grand Union Canal
Grand Union Canal passes across Solihull, coming within 1 mi
(1.6 km) of the town centre and linking the town to the River
Thames in London.
Local bus services are provided largely by National Express West
Midlands from their
Yardley Wood and
Acocks Green depots in south and
Solihull offers a variety of shopping facilities. It has an open-air
1960s-style shopping centre called Mell Square which was constructed
following the demolition of several terraces of Victorian houses and
Solihull Congregational Church. In recent years, the town
has undergone much development, and High Street has been
pedestrianised since 1994. On 2 July 2002, a large new shopping
centre, Touchwood, was opened by the Queen.
Solihull is the home of the four-wheel-drive car manufacturer Land
Rover's main production plant (situated east of the Lode Heath
district) and a range of other major companies. The village of Meriden
was the famous home of the Triumph motorbike factory from 1942-1983.
The former home of retail bakers Three Cooks, after it was brought out
of administration in 2006, the new company
Cooks the Bakery retains
its HQ in Solihull. Other major companies headquartered in Solihull
include pub company
Enterprise Inns and mortgage and personal loan
National Exhibition Centre
National Exhibition Centre is within the borough of Solihull, as
is almost all of
Birmingham Airport and the ever-expanding Birmingham
Parks and local nature reserves
The Lake, Brueton Park, Solihull
Solihull has a number of parks and local nature reserves, including
Alcott Wood in Moorend Avenue, Chelmsley Wood; 5.7 hectares (14 acres)
of semi natural ancient woodland, designated in 2002.
Babbs Mill in
Fordbridge Road, Kingshurst; 24 hectares (59 acres) of
mixed grassland, lake and woodland habitats, designated in 2000.
Bills Wood, in Bill's Lane, Shirley; 7 hectares (17 acres) of semi
natural ancient woodland, designated in 1991.
Dorridge Wood, in Arden Road, Dorridge; 7.5 hectares (19 acres) of
semi natural woodland, designated in 2000.
Elmdon Park, at Elmdon Manor, Solihull; 4.6 hectares (11 acres) of
former walled garden, managed by
Warwickshire Wildlife Trust,
designated in 1995.
Jobs Close in Longdon Road, Knowle; 3.5 hectares (8.6 acres) of
grassland and woodland with pond, designated in 2004.
Palmers Rough, in Jacey Road, Shirley; 6.5 hectares (16 acres) of semi
natural woodland, designated in 2000.
Malvern & Brueton
Park in Old Warwick Road, Solihull; 30 hectares
(74 acres) of mixed grassland, woodland and marsh, designated in
Millisons Wood, in Albert Road, Meriden; 11 hectares (27 acres) of
semi natural ancient woodland, designated in 1993.
Smiths Wood in Windward Way, Smiths Wood; 4.5 hectares (11 acres) of
semi natural ancient woodland, designated in 2004.
Yorks Wood, in
Fordbridge Road, Kingshurst; 10 hectares (25 acres) of
semi natural ancient woodland, designated in 1991.
Other parks include Tudor Grange Park, Elmdon Park, Hillfield Park,
Cole Bank Park, Knowle
Park and Shirley Park. The nearest parks to the
town centre are Malvern and Brueton Parks. They are interlinked and
cover a total area of about 130 acres (0.53 km2). Brueton Park
used to be part of the grounds of Malvern Hall, which dates back to
about 1690. It is home now to St Martin's Independent School for
Solihull also has the UK's first dedicated hedgehog conservation
The River Blythe, a headwater tributary of the River Trent, passes
through parts of
Solihull including Malvern and Tudor Grange Parks.
Solihull has numerous leisure facilities including a public swimming
pool on the edge of Tudor Grange Park. This pool replaced the old
Tudor Grange Sports Centre, which was demolished in 2007, to make way
for the brand new leisure centre (A combination of the old Norman
Green Athletics Centre and Tudor Grange Sports Centre). This in turn
had replaced the outdoor swimming pool – Malvern
Park Lido – that
Solihull from 1954 till its closure in 1982. At present
there are two sports centres, the more modern Tudor Grange Sports
Centre, and the older North
Solihull Sports Centre. There is also an
outdoor wooden skateboarding and in-line skating facility in Tudor
Grange Park. Sailing takes place on
The borough is well served by numerous youth groups, both from the
statutory and voluntary sector. There are several Scout groups
including Knowle Sea Scout Group which is based in the south of
Solihull and is sponsored by the
Royal Navy providing a wide programme
of activities for young people from all over
Solihull aged from 6 to
18. The recently refurbished ice rink on Hobs Moat Road is home to
Solihull's ice hockey teams, the
Solihull Vikings, a
junior ice hockey team, the Mohawks ice racing club, as well as ice
dance and figure skating clubs. Above the ice rink is a Riley's
Every year since the early 1930s (apart from gaps during world wars),
Solihull Carnival has taken place. This is now fixed to the first
weekend after the June half-term and takes place in Tudor Grange Park,
organised by Shirley Round Table. The event raises about £10,000 for
charitable causes each year.
Park is also the venue for the annual free firework
display held on the Saturday closest to 5 November, organised by
Solihull Round Table. The event attracts about 15,000 people to the
The largest football club in the town is
Solihull Moors, who play at
Damson Park, 2 miles (3.2 km) from the town centre. The club was
established in 2007 following the merger of
Solihull Borough and Moor
Green and currently play in the National League after being promoted
National League North
National League North at the end of the 2015-16 season.
Solihull R.F.C., known as "the Bees", a professional
rugby union team which competes in National League 3. The club played
Sharmans Cross Road
Sharmans Cross Road until August 2010, and following a brief spell
Solihull Moors' Damson
Park ground the club now play at Portway.
Solihull Swimming Club is based at Tudor Grange Leisure Centre,
Solihull School and St. Martin’s School. First established in
1963, the club now boasts over 600 members and also runs water
Solihull Barons are the local ice hockey team and play their home
games at the
Solihull Ice Rink.
Solihull also has a number of field hockey clubs, namely Old
Silhillians Hockey Club,
Olton & West
Warwickshire Hockey Club and
Solihull Blossomfield Hockey Club.
Gaelic games are played by
Warwickshire GAA who play their home
Páirc na hÉireann in Solihull.
The town has an indoor bowling area and club.
Solihull is also home to
Solihull Cycling Club which was founded in
1929. The club has produced National Champions, Olympic Medallists and
For a full list see List of areas in Solihull
Solihull town has several suburbs including Olton,
Blossomfield, Haslucks Green, Sharmans Cross, Cranmore, Shirley
(considered a sub-town of Solihull), Shirley Heath, Hillfield,
Monkspath, Widney Manor, Lyndon, Lode Heath and World's End.
Solihull Borough includes several satellite towns and villages
including Castle Bromwich, Chelmsley Wood, Cheswick Green, Dorridge,
Dickens Heath, Knowle, Balsall Common, Meriden, Hampton in Arden,
Hockley Heath, Eastcote, Barston, Bickenhill,
Solihull is twinned with:
China since 2017
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This list includes notable persons who were born or have lived in
Barry Austin (b.1968), Britain's fattest man and local celebrity
David Baulcombe (b. 1952), Professor of Botany at the University
Mark Billingham (b. 1961), novelist, actor and screenwriter
Elizabeth Bower (b. 1976), actress, Doctors
Karren Brady (b. 1969), vice-chairman of West Ham United F.C.
Michael Buerk (b. 1946),
BBC News reader, born and brought up in
John A. Butt (b. 1960), conductor, scholar, keyboardist and Gardiner
Chair at the University of Glasgow
Daniel Caines (b. 1979), athlete
Karen Carney (b. 1987), Birmingham,
England and Great Britain women's
Stephanie Cole (b. 1941), actress
Dominic Coleman (b. 1970), actor
Alan Cox (b. 1968), a
Linux kernel engineer
Matthew Croucher (b. 1983),
George Cross holder
Lucy Davis (b. 1973), actress and daughter of comedian Jasper Carrott
Gary Delaney (b. 1973), comedian, born in Solihull
Nick Drake (1948-1974), musician/poet
Craig Gardner (b. 1986),
Birmingham City midfielder
Shane Geraghty (b. 1986),
England rugby union player, attended St
Alphege Junior School in the 1990s
Tommy Godwin (1920-2012), cyclist, twice Olympic medallist in 1948 and
Solihull Cycling Club.
Will Grigg (b. 1991), English-born Northern Irish professional
Amii Grove (1985), glamour model
Richard Hammond (b. 1969), presenter of Top Gear (BBC)
Richard Harrison, scientist
Dave Hill (b. 1946), Slade's guitarist
Rupert Hill (b. 1978), Jamie Baldwin in Coronation Street, born and
brought up in Solihull
David Jennens (1929-2000), Olympic and Cambridge University rower,
born in Solihull
Martin Johnson (b. 1970), CBE,
England rugby union player and captain,
born in Shirley
Felicity Kendal (b. 1946), actress and TV star
Zat Knight (b. 1980), professional footballer, mainly with Fulham,
Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers, born in Solihull
Stewart Lee (b. 1968), stand-up comedian, attended
Russell Leetch (b. 1982), bass guitarist for Editors
Don Maclean (b. 1944), 1970s host of Crackerjack, comedian,
broadcaster and personality
Clare Maguire (b. 1988), singer-songwriter
Tony Martin (b. 1957), singer, songwriter, lead singer of Black
Simon Mayo (b. 1958), broadcaster, attended
James McFadden (b. 1983),
Birmingham City F.C. midfielder/striker
Carol McNicoll (b. 1943), designer and potter
Margaret Preece, opera singer, born in Solihull
Jim Proudfoot (b. 1972), TalkSport football commentator
Caroline Redman Lusher
Caroline Redman Lusher (b. 1974), singer/songwriter, founder and
director of Rock Choir
Laurence Rees (b. 1957), historian and documentary filmmaker, attended
Mandy Rice-Davies (1944-2014), famed for her role in the Profumo
Affair, attended Sharmans Cross Junior School in Solihull
Malcolm Stent (b. 1945), playwright and entertainer
Marc Silk (b. 1972), voice actor
Nigel John Taylor (b. 1960), bass guitarist in new wave band Duran
Andy Townsend (b. 1963), broadcaster and TV pundit, and former Aston
Villa, Chelsea and
Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland footballer, lives in Solihull
Stephen Walters, actor, lives in Solihull.
Sally Walton (b. 1981), GB Women's Hockey player and 2012 Summer
Olympics bronze medalist
Madison Welch (b. 1990), glamour model
Musical groups which were formed in or by a member from Solihull
Five - a 1990s boy band
Ocean Colour Scene
Ocean Colour Scene - a 1990s rock band
Swell Maps - a 1970s alternative rock band
Spizzenergi - a 1970s alternative rock band.
The Applejacks - a 1960s pop group
Gentle Giant - avant-garde 1970s progressive rock band
The Maisonettes - a 1980s one hit wonder band
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Solihull is streets ahead in region's property rich list".
Retrieved 7 July 2017.
^ "uSwitch News:
Solihull 'best place to live' in UK Quality of Life
Index". Uswitch.com. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
^ Heather Saul (14 November 2013). "Ten best places to live in the UK:
Solihull comes top". The Independent. London. Retrieved 14 August
^  Archived 8 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
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England. Retrieved 19 September 2007.
^ "Arden Golf Club, Solihull, Wawickshire". Golfsmissinglinks.co.uk.
Retrieved 14 August 2014.
^ "Local History - Charter Day". Archived from the original on 22
February 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
^ a b 
^  Archived 19 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
^  Archived 26 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k "
Solihull Council Local Nature Reserves".
Archived from the original on 30 June 2011. Retrieved 4 April
^  Archived 20 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
^ "Get ready for Solihull's Bonfire Night in Tudor Grange Park".
Solihull News. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
Solihull Swimming Club". www.solihullswimmingclub.co.uk. Retrieved
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Solihull Cycling Club. Retrieved 24 September
^ Whiting, David (2009). Modern British Potters and their studios.
Solihull Arts Complex". solihullartscomplex.co.uk.
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Solihull at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
Solihull Tourism Website
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